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Time-dependent Messaging - Patent 6775690


The present invention relates to communication services. More specifically, the present invention relates to communication services that provide time-dependent messages.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTIONElectronic communication is increasingly common in the world today. For example, messages or documents may be transmitted between parties separated by great geographical distances or only a few feet by utilizing electronic mail (email),facsimile, video or voice communication systems. Users typically have access to each of these media of communication through various terminals or workstations but may not be present at any one of them after a great length of time during the businessday. An originator wishing to communicate with a recipient must often leave a message in some form, either verbally over a voice telephone or electronically. The originator may also wish to know that the recipient has received messages.Frequently, users send messages in one form or another that are time sensitive. For instance, a reply to a message may be required by a certain date or the information in the message is no longer relevant. Also, an action or response to amessage may be required within some time period, and if no response occurs during this time period, the message needs to be forwarded to other individuals or other actions need to be taken. Similarly, a message may be sent to a recipient where thecontent of the message is different depending on the time the message read. For example, depending on how long it takes for the recipient to read the message, the originator may want an email sent, a call made, or an overnight package sent.Many data processing systems exist which provide a confirmation of delivery (COD) capability that permits the originator to be notified when the recipient has accessed the message. These systems transmit a COD via the same media used to transmitthe message. For example, a confirmation that the recipient has accessed an (email) message is transmi

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